This Week in History
Krieghoff, a fascinating artist!
For the week of Monday June 17, 2002
Born June 19, 1815, in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, Cornelius Krieghoff became one of the most celebrated Canadian artists of the 19th century. Throughout his career, his canvasses were marked by humour and romanticism inspired by the rural life and landscapes of his adoptive home, Canada.
Fascinated by the traditional life of the "habitants," Krieghoff depicted French-Canadian society of the mid-19th century in his work. His subjects included seasonal activities and amusements such as sleigh rides, canoe trips, children playing in the snow, festivities at the inn, as well as hunting and the sugaring-off season. Humour and cheerfulness are evident in his paintings, which are reminiscent of 17th-century Dutch paintings. The figures in his paintings usually sport toques and arrowhead sashes, two traditional accessories associated with the "habitant." Krieghoff was also interested in the Aboriginal people he met near Montréal and Québec City. He depicted their colourful costumes, their outings on snowshoes, their camps and various scenes of their daily lives.
Krieghoff left Québec City circa 1862, having produced close to 2,000 paintings. He spent time in several locations and died suddenly in Chicago on March 9, 1872. His lively and colourful work was as much appreciated in his own times as it is today. Cornelius Krieghoff was designated a person of national historical significance in 1972.
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